New Theme: Seigaiha

Friends, readers and lurkers, I now present to you my new theme: Seigaiha or 青海波. Seigaiha is an ancient Japanese wave design created with semi-circles.

How Seigaiha was born

It’s probably the most difficult theme I have ever designed. Finding the motif was the easy part. I discovered seigaiha months ago while I was at the supermarket. The packaging for this Japanese-inspired bread was so unmistakably nanyate-esque, I knew I had to make a theme out of it.

Royal White Bread

But because of the change in my design philosophy, I had a very hard time conceptualizing it into a theme. I wanted my theme to be unique yet functional, but didn’t know how to merge them…

…until one day, the idea bulb finally switched on. The answer was typography; typography is the key to marrying design to function. It can improve readability, yet it is an art in itself.

Unfortunately, I am no David Airey. To be honest, I don’t know anything about typography. All these years I just stuck to basic sans serif fonts because everyone else uses it. So I scoured the ‘net for weeks to see what the experts used. Then, I stumbled upon Mohd Huzairy‘s Extreme Georgia.

Who knew that Georgia could actually be so beautiful? I was always under the impression that serif fonts were all old and dingy like Times New Roman. But Georgia’s sophisticated, rustic feel was the perfect companion to seigaiha’s ancient Japanese roots.

But something was still lacking; the design just lacked a certain va-va-voom. Then I came across The Netsetter. The concept of its design was simple: big, humongous type that improved readability.

So with seigaiha as the motif, Georgia as the type and The Netsetter’s gigantic font size, Theme Seigaiha was born.

Still in Beta Mode

With that said, it’s still in beta mode. Here are some outstanding issues:

  • Not tested on IE yet
  • Not validated yet
  • Lifestream not customized yet. For now I’m using WP Lifestream as a stand-in.

So, what do you think of the new theme? And it’ll be great to let me know if you spot any errors (aside from the ones I’m fixing). Thanks!

  • i <3 Georgia too! sans serif fonts feel a too boring and dull and most serif fonts viewed on screen just doesn't make it. but Georgia fits great.


  • k

    i <3 it!!! ^^

  • I love this new theme especially the background design. It still has the signature lantern though. 😉

    I checked it out in IE 8 and I spotted a grey background in the content area which doesn’t appear in Firefox. The text is also right on the border of the grey background. The footer also looks a bit different. The navigation doesn’t have the round corners in Internet Explorer. That’s about it! 🙂

  • I love the light color of your site. It does look slightly different in IE, but most sites does. I hate IE.

  • Ivy

    @Dayna: Thanks for your help! The gray background is likely the PNG of the bread. Guess I still need a workaround for the pngfix, sigh.

    I’m aware of the rounded corners. IE8 can’t display CSS3, and doesn’t have a workaround unlike Safari and Firefox. I decided to let it be. Not a must-have feature anyway. 😀

    Will check out the footer when I get back to the office. Thanks! 🙂

    @chanel: I hate hate hate IE. Very unfortunate that many people still use it. Sigh.

  • soyuzno

    i really really love this design. well done.

  • Jo

    Oh my. This is gorgeous. I’m a relatively new visitor to your site, and while I was very impressed with your previous layout, this one completely blows me away. Great job. 🙂

    I agree with you completely about Georgia. It’s one of my favorite fonts, if not my absolute favorite, so this may contribute to my fondness of this layout. 😀

  • Wow, I really do love this new theme!! =) I didn’t realize that it was the typography that made this different from your other themes. I knew there was something different, just couldn’t pinpoint it until I read it. Hahah, I’m too lazy to implement stuff like that into my own sites.

  • IE needs to die. But aside from IE, this looks fantastic! So nice and clean-cut! Love the whole “bread” inspiration LOL. Makes me want to go get some Korean bread now. 😀

    This is really an inspirational design. Makes me want to change my layout now!

  • Ivy

    @k and @Claudia: Oops, for some reason your comments ended up as spam. Guess Akismet screwed up.

    @Claudia Yeah, I noticed from your latest theme that you must be quite fond of serif fonts too. Perhaps serif is making a comeback. 😀

  • Ivy

    @soyuzno: Thanks! Not as good as yours though. Your portfolio always blows me away.

    @Jo: Hi! Thanks! 🙂 Looks like I’m not alone is loving Georgia! 🙂

    @Simply Precious: Thanks, girl! Yeah, I’m usually so lazy when it comes to details. I just use the default fonts I’ve been using for years – the equivalent of Arial 10pt. But I’m starting to get really tired of the common sans serif fonts; it lacks personality.

    Since you’re a web developer by profession, I’m sure you can come up with some mean code. 😀 I’m quite useless with the coding actually, which is why this theme was a pain for me. I had to make quite a few customizations in WordPress functions to get it to work. And still making them for the lifestream. Arghhh. If only I was more l33t.

    @Tara: Yes IE just needs to die or just bloody conform. LOL. I decided to no longer support IE 6. Can’t be bothered anymore. Haha. Yes, yes time to change your layout! I wanna see it. 😀

  • I like this new theme, Ivy! To me, the pattern is something familiar because I’m Japanese, but that doesn’t mean I’m bored of it. This kind of ancient Japanese patterns actually never make us bored. No matter how many times they are used and how long, they still look cool and nice! Great work! BTW I didn’t know it’s called Seigaiha! (@_@!)

  • Good job on the theme Ivy! Everything looks clean and evenly spaced out. I’ve always wanted to make a typography-based theme but have been too lazy.

  • Amazing new layout, Ivy! This is by far the best design you’ve released so far 🙂 I totally dig the colour scheme – greyscale with a classy mix of red looks perfect! And the background – must be very grueling to design! So far I’m yet to learn how to make tiled backgrounds, because that means I’ll have to pick up Illustrator but I’m a little lazy to do so for the moment being 😛

    Typography is perfect. I really love the Smashing Magazine article you’ve linked! I read it some time ago but forgot to bookmark/digg it so it got lost, plus after my lappie crashed, I lost all my browsing history where I can possible dig out the page from. Extreme Georgia is one of the best typographical template I’ve encountered so far.

    p/s: I love the expanding textbox of your comment area! How nifty 🙂

  • I love how elegant your design looks without being overly plain and boring, great job! I definitely agree, typography makes such a difference when it comes to design, yet for me, it’s always so hard to rely mainly on typography to build my designs.

  • Ivy

    @kirin: Thanks! I actually really admire ancient Japanese culture. I like it more than the modern Japanese culture. Would love to be able to live in Japan for a short while and learn ikebana and about Shintoism. It’s all very fascinating to me. 🙂

    @Katy: Thanks, babe! 😀

    @Teddy: Thanks! This design definitely took a lot out of me. :S You could do tiled background with Photoshop as well. I’m not good with Illustrator either actually. Glad that helped you find the link back! 😀 Actually, the expanding text box isn’t new. It was implemented with the last theme, but I guess it was less obvious since the box was a bit longer. 😀

    @Mimi: Thanks! Yeah, typography layouts are quite hard to grasp. Without Extreme Georgia, I wouldn’t have been able to make this layout either. :S